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Hamlet was a play written by William Shakespeare. It was also the name of the titular prince of Denmark featured in the same play.

Genesis of the work[edit | edit source]

The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones visited Shakespeare in 1599. They inspired Shakespeare to write about father-son relationships, which is the main theme of Hamlet. Shakespeare also mentioned the name of his deceased son, Hamnet. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)

The idea for Hamlet was first discussed at the court of Elizabeth I. The First Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright and Vicki Pallister used the Time-Space Visualiser to witness Shakespeare's initial rejection of Francis Bacon's thoughts on writing a play about Hamlet. They then saw Shakespeare appear to warm to the idea, once he'd left Bacon's presence. (TV: The Chase)

The First Doctor collaborated with Shakespeare between drafts one and two (PROSE: Byzantium!) and the Fourth Doctor claimed to have helped him write down the final draft of Hamlet after he sprained his wrist writing sonnets. This manuscript was acquired by Scaroth in the 20th century. (TV: City of Death, PROSE: The Stranger, The Writer, His Wife and the Mixed Metaphor)

References[edit | edit source]

The Fourth Doctor later attempted to teach his companion Leela about poetry by introducing her to Hamlet. (AUDIO: The Foe from the Future)

Upon finding a number of Nimon, the Fourth Doctor quoted Hamlet in saying, "Oh my prophetic soul." (TV: The Horns of Nimon)

The Sixth Doctor heard a verse from the work, declaimed by a dying Oscar Botcherby, a wannabe actor whose dream had been to play the main role. After Oscar died, the Sixth Doctor quoted half of the last line of the play "Good Night Sweet Prince". (TV: The Two Doctors)

The Valeyard quoted a verse from scene one of act three of the work to the Sixth Doctor. (TV: The Ultimate Foe)

On Heaven, the Seventh Doctor quoted a line from Hamlet to Bernice Summerfield, who pointed out that it was a mixed metaphor. (PROSE: Love and War)

Hamlet was mentioned by the Fourth Doctor when describing the odds of all the animals in the London Zoo trying to escape on the same morning. (PROSE: Stanley)

Hamlet was performed at the New Regency Theatre on numerous occasions before the theatre was destroyed in the Blitz on 12 October 1940. Sarah Bernhardt starred in one such production. (AUDIO: Swan Song)

The Monk believed that his meddling would enable Shakespeare to have Hamlet premiere on television. (TV: "Checkmate")

The Daleks quoted various lines from Hamlet while working on a time machine with Professor Osric. (AUDIO: The Time of the Daleks)

A caged temporal predator who had been taught to recite "the most famed soliloquy from Hamlet" was one of the items on sale at the First Auction in Heaven. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice)

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

  • In The Chase, Bacon speaks of Hamlet as if he's common knowledge. Indeed, Shakespeare warms to the idea without ever having been told who Hamlet was. The direct implication is that Hamlet is a real person in the DWU. This marks a clear distinction between the DWU and our world. In the real world, Shakespeare never intended that Hamlet be taken as a biography. The character of Hamlet is an entire fiction. However, in the real world it is theorised Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in response to a less successful play about Hamlet. This would have been based on the story of Amleth, a legendary Danish Prince.
  • In The Mark of the Rani, the Sixth Doctor quotes a famous verse from the work ("There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"), even if it is not explicitly attributed to it.

Doctor Who actors in Hamlet[edit | edit source]

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